The general definition of a wide format printer is a printer that has a maximum printing width between 24 and 100 inches. There are many types of wide format printers, such as aqueous inkjet, solvent inkjet, UV inkjet, and toner-based.
The most frequently seen is the aqueous inkjet printer, which is known for speed, quality of output, and lower costs. Solvent inkjet printers use durable solvent-based inks that make them a good choice for outdoor applications, as they remain durable in bad weather and extreme conditions. However, solvent inks may be toxic, and in many cases are not environmentally friendly. UV inkjet printers are commonly configured as flatbed models, which allows them to print on a very wide range of materials. These devices use UV light to dry the ink in matter of seconds. The ink in UV inkjet printers tends to be very durable, much like the ink in solvent ink devices. Finally, there are toner-based wide format printers. Toner-based machines use dry toner that is fused to the substrate with heat and pressure, much like a copier or laser printer.
Wide format printing is economical for short-run or one-off projects such as banners, car wraps, engineering drawings and trade show signage.